Austin Jenkins

Olympia Correspondent

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise.

Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut.

His reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists. Austin was part of a team that won a 2018 national Edward R. Murrow award for breaking news coverage.

Ways to Connect

TVW/Inside Olympia

As teachers in a record number of Washington school districts strike this week, a top official with their union says the unwillingness of superintendents and school boards to negotiate higher pay raises for teachers is a crime. 

"It's wage theft," said Stephen Miller, vice president of the Washington Education Association (WEA), Thursday in an interview on TVW's "Inside Olympia" program. "They are taking wages away from public employees."

Austin Jenkins

On a recent evening in Vancouver, Washington, more than 80 people gathered at the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They were there for a forum organized by a fledging group of moms whose severely mentally ill children have struggled to get the help they need in Washington state — sometimes with deadly consequences.

“We are all part of a tribe that we have joined whether we wanted to or not,” mother Jerri Clark told the packed room.

Washington Legislature / Washington Legislature

Washington state Rep. Matt Manweller “engaged in a pattern of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior” with current and former female students at Central Washington University (CWU) over a 13-year period, according to an 85-page investigative report released by the university on Wednesday.

Washington Legislature / Washington Legislature

A Republican state representative from eastern Washington is drawing attention after comments he made about the media at a pro-gun rally over the weekend. 

At the "Liberty or Death" event on Saturday in Spokane, Republican Matt Shea of Spokane Valley, who's currently seeking a sixth term in office, said "a lot of people in the media" are guilty of smear campaigns, innuendo and implication.

"And I want to tell you something about that," Shea told the crowd. "We can't become those dirty, godless, hateful people. We have to uphold free speech no matter what." 

U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle will decide whether to approve a settlement requiring the state to establish programs to keep the mentally ill out of jail.
U.S. District Court / U.S. District Court

For years, mentally ill inmates in this state have languished in county jails awaiting state evaluations to determine if they're competent to stand trial.

But according to a legal settlement announced this Thursday, people with mental illness who are caught up in Washington state’s criminal justice system would get more services.

In cases when inmates are found not competent, they often wait weeks or months more to get a bed at a state hospital.

Washington Legislature / Washington Legislature

Central Washington University on Tuesday fired Republican state Rep. Matt Manweller from his position as a tenured professor of political science following a months-long investigation into his conduct toward students. 

Washington Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore

Washington Republicans are regrouping after a primary election pounding Tuesday that extended beyond swing districts to rock-ribbed GOP pockets of the state.

Washington Legislature

Embattled Democratic state Rep. David Sawyer of Tacoma was in third place in early primary returns Tuesday night, an indication of the political fallout he’s facing over numerous allegations of inappropriate behavior toward women and an investigation that found he violated House harassment policy. 

Katheirne Hitt / Flickr - tinyurl.com/mobc9zf

The legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington state in 2012 resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of people sentenced for marijuana-related felonies, according to an analysis conducted for public radio by the Washington State Caseload Forecast Council.

Seattle University School of Law

The past eight months have been a whirlwind of victories for Tarra Simmons—an honors law school graduate with a criminal past.

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